10 BFA Acting Schools

If you're a budding actor or actress looking to further your drama education, consider applying to these 10 BFA acting schools. BFAs are more highly sought after theater degrees than BAs because they are more strictly dedicated to the craft of acting, whereas BAs are more general. These schools are all highly respected in the theater profession.

  1. Juilliard.  Juilliard is the most famous of all the performing arts conservatories. While putting Juilliard on your resumé won't guarantee you roles, it will certainly make the casting directors pay closer attention to you. Juilliard's BFA acting program is an intense four-year program, no matter if you already have a previous college degree. The school has an 8% acceptance rate, so prepare well.
  2. Carnegie Mellon. This Pittsburgh school is mainly known for their science, math, and engineering programs, but Carnegie Mellon has a well-respected acting BFA program as well. The BFA acting program is also combined with the musical theater BFA program. Broadway and Hollywood greats like Holly Hunter, Sutton Foster, and Ted Danson.
  3. Ithaca. Ithaca is rare in that it offers BFAs in both acting and musical theater. The college puts on six performances a semester. While the town of Ithaca itself might seem like a small town, there are professional theater companies within the city so students can network and grow. Ithaca also offers a London center that affords students the chance to study in London.
  4. State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase College.  There are many acting programs affiliated with SUNY, but it's Purchase College that serious acting majors should be looking at. The program is very competitive and Purchase College is a mere 40 minutes from New York City. Edie Falco, Parker Posey, and Wesley Snipes are all alumni of this prestigious program.
  5. North Carolina School of the Arts. In addition to their acting BFA program, NCSA offers a "directing option" for acting BFA students interested in directing as well. The acting BFA program is an intense four years in an intensely arts-focused environment. In addition to their respecting curriculum, NCSA is also known for their school mascot: the Fighting Pickle.
  6. Emerson College. This Boston college has rightfully earned a name for itself with its highly immersive acting BFA program. Students are expected to spend 75% of their time within the program in their junior and senior years. Freshmen and sophomore students must re-audition for the program four times over two years in order to stay within the program.
  7. California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts).  Cal Arts offers both BFA and MFA programs in acting and the school emphasizes turning young actors into versatile artists prepared for the changes of the 21st century. Cal Arts may offer less of a traditional training program than some other schools, but Cal Arts will certainly make you more well-rounded. The school aims to prepare actors to work in film, television, theater, and new media forms.
  8. Rutgers. The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University is one of the highest-ranked theater conservatories in the United States. What sets Rutgers apart from any other school on this list is Rutger's unique opportunity to spend your junior year in London studying classic theater at Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare's Globe.
  9. University of Southern California. USC is a well-respected acting program especially recommended for people looking to for film and television work after graduation. The school's conservatory style boasts numerous famous alumni, including John Wayne, Kyra Sedgwick, Allie Sheedy, and Forest Whitaker.
  10. University of Miami. Students of the University of Miami's BFA acting program enjoy low student-teacher ratios and a well-recognized undergraduate theater program. The University of Miami's theatre program is exclusively for undergraduates, so students won't have to compete with graduate students for meaty roles. The university also offers BFA degrees in musical theater and BA degrees in acting.
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